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Man arrested for allegedly shooting, killing bear in Golden Gate Estates

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man they say shot and killed a Florida black bear in Golden Gate Estates.

The bear’s name was Bailey, a 1-year-old male among a family of bears that neighbors loved to see in their backyards, never feeling they were in any harm.

The Humane Society of the United States called the shooting a senseless act.

“Bailey suffered a really slow death that could have been avoided,” said Kate MacFall with the Humane Society.

“No animal deserves to die,” said neighbor Flack Ramiers in Golden Gate Estates. “I don’t think guns is the choice.”

A neighbor who did not want to go on camera said she called Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in early June after smelling something.

The Humane Society says the smell was a young bear that had been shot.

“It was more than just the illegal killing of a bear,” MacFall said. “What makes this so egregious is that Bailey was shot with birdshot, which left him to a die a slow, painful death. He bled out.”

Deputies arrested Kyle Aaron Stevens, 28, at the Port O Call Marina in Naples.

“He should have called and notified the FWC,” MacFall said. “We’re really urging the prosecutors along with FWC to pursue felony animal cruelty charges. It’s warranted.”

Those in the Golden Gate Estates community are disappointed to hear Bailey suffered.

“He needs to do a punishment that he’s gonna learn his lesson,” Ramiers said.

Stevens is facing a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully taking a black bear. He is expected to be in court on Aug. 6.

“We love our bears,” Juan Poras said.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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